Re: If you had known...would you have gotten married?
i certainly would, even knowing all the pain and hardships i would face dealing with my wife's mental health issues.
some people might label my methods of dealing with crazy as cruel, unfair, draconian, or cold hearted. but today, i have a functional and happy marriage, married to a very functional and happy wife, even while dealing with a lifestyle that is more stressful on a marriage than most "normal" couples will ever have to deal with.
people typically find it unfair or cruel to tell a depressed spouse that sits around in pajamas all day long eating doritos while mindlessly browsing the internet that if they do not get off their backsides and clean the house, then the router and cable box will be physically removed from the premise that night, and then follow through with it when they get home and find that nothing has been done. they would rather just mention their disapproval of their behavior, ask them to go to the doctor, and eventually bail if the depressed spouse doesn't seem to improve themselves. meanwhile the depressed spouse makes attempts and fails because they have not practiced effective coping mechanisms long enough to form new habits, ultimately strengthening their feeling of hopelessness and slipping further into depression. how many people really have the patience to consistently apply motivation until a new normal is established?
people balk at the idea of having to provide consequences for destructive behavior, claiming that they shouldn't have to act like a parent to someone they are married to. they would rather refuse to provide the motivation for the "principle" of it and abandon the person who they claimed to love. because that is easier than being "the bad guy".
when their relationships start to crumble, they would be abhorred by the idea of telling a mentally ill spouse that if they do not start speaking their love language, then one of their own love languages will be taken off the table in return. they say that if it has to be forced or coerced, it isn't "true" love, or that they don't want to have to be that kind of a person. besides, they are mentally ill and nothing can be done.
how many of you would be willing to tell an abusive spouse that you are going to record all of your conversations with them so that you have a clear record of their abusive behavior, specifically for the purpose of forcing them to start behaving appropriately until they form new coping strategies and have learned to control their anger? how many of you would be willing to hand over finances to your spouse knowing full well they are going to set you back a couple of years worth of work within a few months in order to let them experience the terrible fear and shame of knowing that they messed everything up with their own choices and actions, all for the goal of getting them to finally be willing to work with you as a team? and furthermore, how many of you could do that without resenting them for it?
most people would not be willing to do such things. but they are usually ok with the idea of leaving a spouse with severe mental issues whose greatest fear is being abandoned.
you know what real true love is? here is a hint: it's the most difficult kind. true love is being the kind of person your spouse needs, even if its not the kind of person you originally wanted to be. if you want them to be someone different from who they are, someone they do not even believe they can be, then you have to be willing to change who you are as well.
the only reason i was able to overcome my wife's mental disorders was because i was able to love someone i had to practically coerce into learning how to function normally and be happy.
some of us may love our children that much, but very few of us would dare love a spouse that much.
when i married my wife, i barely knew her, but i chose to love her, and that really had nothing to do with her. today i may not be the man i thought i would be when i married her, but i am proud of the man i have become, and i am DAMN proud of her.
"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson